Tag Archives | color spectrum

An Experiment To Allow Us To See New Colors

colorsAre we missing out on most of reality? Via OMNI Reboot, Rich Lee on transhumanist experimenters hoping to expand the color spectrum (and render all past and current art, fashion, and design obsolete):

Of the vast wavelengths that span the electromagnetic spectrum, humans can see a mere 2.3%. Rainbows? They’re just a fraction of the real picture. We’ve crafted abstract theories to understand x-rays, radio, microwaves, and gamma rays. But how much more advanced would humanity be if we could perceive the other 97.7% of reality?

A team of “Grinders,” or self-experimenting biohackers, calling themselves Science for the Masses (SFM) has started a crowdfunding campaign to raise the $4,000 necessary to procure the equipment and chemicals for the execution of their plan.

If successful…Their work will enable humans to see the near-infrared spectrum with their naked eyes. As the project overview explains, SFM hope to augment sight through “human formation of porphyropsin, the protein complex which grants infrared vision to freshwater fish.”

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Scientists Create Proteins To Enable Human Eyes To See A Wider Color Spectrum

Body modification to expand the realm of the senses, New Scientist reports:

Researchers have altered the structure of a protein normally found in the human eye so that it can absorb a type of red light that we cannot normally see. The new protein could, in theory, give us the ability to see reds that are currently beyond our visible spectrum.

Colour vision in nearly all animals depends on specialised chemicals called chromophores, which sit inside proteins and absorb different wavelengths of light. Specific protein structures are thought to determine the absorption spectrum of the chromophores within. Babak Borhan at Michigan State University and his colleagues engineered a series of mutations which altered the structure of human chromophore-containing proteins.

If these proteins were present in the eye you would be able to see red light that is invisible to you now, says co-author James Geiger, also at Michigan State University. But since objects reflect a mixture of light, the world would not necessarily always appear more red.

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How Humanity Picked Its Colors

Our long-ago ancestors saw two basic colors: light and dark. Today we see eleven (black, grey, white, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, brown, pink). Tomorrow we will see more. Empirical Zeal on “color colonialism” and the odd pattern that societies follow in erecting “color boundaries”:

Blue and green are similar in hue. Before the modern period, Japanese had just one word, Ao, for both blue and green. The wall that divides these colors hadn’t been erected as yet.

One of the first fences in this color continuum came from crayons. In 1917, the first crayons were imported into Japan… There were different crayons for green (midori) and blue (ao), and children started to adopt these names. But the real change came during the Allied occupation of Japan after World War II, when new educational material started to circulate. In 1951, teaching guidelines for first grade teachers distinguished blue from green, and the word midori was shoehorned to fit this new purpose.

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What It’s Like To Have Ultraviolet Vision

Engineer and self described nerd Alek Komarnitsky describes how post cataract surgery, he now sees an expanded color spectrum. What could the lilac glow beyond violet be — auras, pet spirits, Venus rays? Via Komar:

Numerous people who have also had their natural lens removed have written me saying they see similar to what I describe below. I’ve been very happy so far with the Crystals implant for cataract surgery. But one unexpected/interesting aspect is I see a violet glow that others do not … I’m seeing Ultraviolet light!

An eye surgeon recently wrote about blue-violet color changes after Crystalens implants and his experience is that only 3% of patients have experienced (or mentioned!) this phenomena … but some people may just have more sensitive photoreceptors, so the vast majority of the patients would not see this.

Some related interesting tidbits include during WWII, the British used aphakics for signaling using UV lights … since only they could see it.

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The ‘Forbidden Colors’ Our Eyes Can’t See

crane-piantanidaCan you imagine a reddish green? Not the muddy brown produced by mixing red and green paint, but a gloriously vivid color that looks a bit like red and a bit like green. How about a color that looks like a mix of blue and yellow, yet isn’t greenish? These exist, but are virtually impossible to see or envision — except with the help of retinal stabilization. Someday we may wear goggles to see the forbidden colors previously off limits. Via Life’s Little Mysteries:

“The observers of this unusual visual stimulus reported seeing the borders between the stripes gradually disappear, and the colors seem to flood into each other. Amazingly, the image seemed to override their eyes’ opponency mechanism, and they said they perceived colors they’d never seen before.”

Even though those colors exist, you’ve probably never seen them. Red-green and yellow-blue are the so-called “forbidden colors.” Composed of pairs of hues whose light frequencies automatically cancel each other out in the human eye, they’re supposed to be impossible to see simultaneously.

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